If you have a teenager, or have raised a teenager, then you're bound to relate to this, even if you don't actually agree with all the points I make.
Teenagers can run rampant through a myriad of emotions in the span of just a couple of hours. One minute they're laughing and texting their friends and making plans, and the next minute things have drastically changed and the teen no longer has the words to explain what's going on. This usually causes them to scream "you just don't understand!".
As a parent, it can be a very trying time. Part of you wants to shield your child from everything, yet the other part of you realizes some lessons just have to be learned on their own. It's just so difficult sometimes to know when to step in and help and when to walk away and let them know you're there if they want you. I usually have to force the issue and once I do, my daughter usually calms down and talks to me.
Teens can be quite devious and calculating when dealing with each other. With the social networking phenomenon, Facebook, in a matter of seconds every friend of every friend of every friend on your friends list has has been informed of the latest juicy gossip and just what so and so thinks of so and so. We saw this one play out in living color once. What exactly does it mean when someone gives a "likes this" to a snide comment one friend makes about another? They can really be mean towards each other. It certainly was a misunderstanding that could have been better handled by the two offending parties simply talking to one another.
Each time one of these incidences occur all the parties involved are sure that the world is about to end I used to have to remind my own teenage daughter that the world will most likely keep turning even if Ms. Sassy-pants no longer thinks you're her friend and doesn't like you talking to anyone on her latest "forbidden list".
What are the Rules These Days?
- It seems that some girls have this idea that there is an unwritten sisterhood rule that you never talk to or date an ex-boyfriend of any of your friends. To a degree, I understand this rule because it can sometimes ruin a friendship if everyone involved isn't quite as mature as the rest. However, when you live in a small town, and you have about 6-8 close girlfriends that like to change boyfriends like hairdressers change hairstyles, then you soon run out of people you can talk to.
- When did it become a friend's right, or even business, to tell another friend who he/she should and shouldn't be hanging around with? I know, I know, you insist that you're just "looking out for their own good".
- When did it become the thing to do to blast each other on Facebook for the world to see? What happened to working things out with each other privately? Then why does everyone feel the need to chime in and take sides? Even one of the moms joined in making her own harsh comments. Do parents really need to join in and fight along with the teens?
- Why is texting preferred over good old-fashioned talking these days?
How to Help Your Child Maintain Self-Worth
I guess the toughest thing for me is to watch my daughter's self-worth deteriorate when she's been treated unkindly and she hasn't yet learned that these so-called friends' opinions aren't worth as much as she thinks.
I don't think teenagers realize the long-lasting effects their words can have on each other. I have tried to teach her no to stoop to their level and to not take their harsh words to heart. I'm sure you can ask any adult and they can vividly recall situations in their childhood and teens where someone made discouraging and rude comments to them. When they recall these episodes, it often rekindles old fears, feelings and even tears.
Talk to your children about how harmful words can be. They don't want to be the one that scars someone for life.
HC Porter's Related-Hub about Her Journey
- A Journey of Life from 13 to 30 by HC Porter
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